Ageing is the most significant and unprecedented demographic challenge facing world leaders in the 21st Century. As a result, the G8 leaders met in London for the first Dementia Summit in December 2013. This marks a significant step in acknowledging one of the biggest side-effects and challenges of an ageing world. The ageing trend is more acute in developed economies such as the G8 but is a progression in emerging markets which governments also need to prepare for in order to avoid a potential demographic time-bomb. Euromonitor International forecasts that there are just over half a billion people aged 65+ worldwide in 2013. As longevity is on the rise, this will have an impact not just in terms of the demand for healthcare and pensions but it will also transform consumer markets, labour forces, government finances and policies in the medium to long term. However, preparing for ageing now also means that the new world population structure offers significant opportunities across sectors.
Did You Know?
- In 2020, Euromonitor forecasts that the 80+ age group will account for 21.2% of the total global elderly population aged 65 and over. This highlights the fact that the demand for healthcare, pensions and resources to help the very old will put huge pressure on government finances;
- Ageing trends mean that government policy must be adapted in order to cope by raising retirement ages, opening doors to immigration or increasing taxes on the labour force to fund government finances. Such policies will have a direct impact on the consumer spending potential of the working-age population;
- Japan is the oldest country in the world with an estimated median age of 46 in 2013 compared to just 26 in India. Many governments are looking to Japan as an example of what the future holds;
- Although developed countries particularly in Western Europe have the highest proportions of the 65+ population age group (an estimated 16.9% in 2013 in Western Europe), the sheer size of emerging market populations also means that the numbers of the elderly are significant in these regions. Emerging and developing countries are home to an estimated 70.3% of the global population aged 65+ in 2013 with just over half in Asia Pacific alone;
- However, if governments and companies prepare now for the world’s shifting population structure, ageing can also present a wide range of opportunities with new consumer goods and services designed for the elderly, while experience and knowledge can benefit many business environments and labour markets globally.
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